There are people who would like to live in a particular country, even though they don’t speak the official language there. Every day, those people are facing many different language barriers. Let’s have a look at an integral, very important and usually enjoyable part of our lives – food!
And why did I say usually? Because there are sometimes really terrifying things in menus. Would you want cauliflower in your brain? I don’t think so. There is a Czech dish called „květák na mozek“ or „na mozeček“ which in a word-for-word translation means, let’s say, cauliflower (in the form of a little) brain. Of course it has nothing to do with brains and the name is probably only a tribute to its not very tasteful looks. It’s a vegetarian dish similar to scrambled eggs with cauliflower. However, I came across a menu that said “cauliflower in the brain”. Long live the google translator! If I were a foreigner, I’d run away as fast as I could from the restaurant. After being advised that “cauliflower in the brain” is not the appropriate name for the dish, the name was changed into “cauliflower with Cerebellum” (‘Cerebellum’ is Latin for little brain). Well, you know what they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Chicken soup with droppings or with hepatic meatballs are almost legends not worth mentioning. On the other hand, creativity doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. If I haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it. An American friend of mine managed to take a picture of a menu saying “chicken soup with faggot”. I don’t even want to know how the author came up with this translation. Of course this should be chicken soup (or broth) with liver meatballs.
So, the clue is to explain, rather than translate word for word. Local dishes shouldn’t be named with their local names only. I mean, without any background information, would you guess what a Spanish bird or a drown man are?
Plus, ordering professional translation might be helpful, too.
Did you ever see such a bad translation of a menu or anything else? Please share your experience with us!